US woman facing Scots family split wins immigration challenge
An American woman who faced being separated from her family in Scotland after losing the right to remain in the UK has won a court battle with the immigration authorities.
Olina Anderson, who lives in Kirkcowan, married her British husband in 1996 and both her children are UK citizens.
After a visit home last year, Mrs Anderson was refused entry to the UK.
A Court of Session judge in Edinburgh has now ordered the Home Office to reconsider her case.
The court heard Mrs Anderson was granted leave to remain indefinitely in Britain in 1998, but three years later the couple went to the US to help look after her sick grandparents.
While there, her husband suffered a serious back injury which lengthened their stay.
He then got work as a property manager to help raise funds for their return to Britain.Family ties
The couple, who have two children aged 15 and seven, eventually came back to Britain in 2008 and Mrs Anderson's passport was stamped for six months as a visitor.
End Quote Lord Drummond Young Judge
I find it difficult to imagine a stronger case for consideration ”
Last May, following a trip to America to see her father, she was refused entry to the UK because she did not have proper clearance.
Home Secretary Theresa May made directions for her removal, maintaining that in 2001 she had moved away permanently.
Mrs Anderson challenged the decision through the courts.
Judge Lord Drummond Young has ruled in her favour, saying the strength of her family ties in the UK was a "powerful factor".
He ordered that the Home Secretary considers granting Mrs Anderson indefinite leave to stay in Britain as a returning resident and that she should not be subject to immigration rules.
He said: "When she returned to the United Kingdom in 2008 she had been married to a British citizen for nearly 12 years and had two children then aged 11 and three; both were British citizens.
"Moreover, she was returning to the United Kingdom with a view to living here with her husband and children; her husband's family live in Ayrshire. Her husband and children obviously had a right as citizens to reside in the United Kingdom.
"Thus the potential effect of her loss of her indefinite right to remain in the United Kingdom was separation from her family, which included two young children."
He added: "I find it difficult to imagine a stronger case for consideration of the exercise of the respondent's discretion."